Greed and Inexperience in Cryptocurrency: Investigating the Drivers to your Downfall
· To investigate possible triggers behind greed in human behaviour.
· To investigate how behaving with greed can be realised in the world of cryptocurrency through a case study review.
· To draw conclusions through understanding greed, allowing you to make accurate judgement in the world of cryptocurrency.
Greed can be defined an extreme or excessive desire for resources, often including symbols of wealth, such as money, real estate or valuable assets. Previously, an involvement in cryptocurrency has offered an extraordinary amount of wealth to early innovators, and all in a relatively short time period.
A wide-ranging problem, in terms of human psychology, is being able have the capacity to distinguish wealth from excessive greed. This trait appears somewhat magnified within an element of cryptocurrency participants, who chase an idealistic aspiration without an appropriate level of knowledge, experience or basis of any sort of plan.
The purpose of this article is be able to realise the triggers behind greed, in what “appears” to be an open-handed industry and how these triggers exacerbate vulnerabilities such as inexperience or naivety. This ultimately sparks impulsive decisions that can often cost you money.
The article will conclude on how you can gain recognition of such traits, with a view of realising how to control this often irrational and impulsive behaviour.
Fear and greed are prominent behaviours that run in any financial system (not just cryptocurrency), designed for accumulation of wealth into the hands of a few. Greed (alongside fear) is typically thought of as process in market psychology, however this further applies to an uncontrollable urge to make decisions, that typically most wouldn’t make away from the computer screen.
At the time of writing this article (May 2019), Bitcoin had just rallied to below $6,000.00 and other major altcoins such as Ethereum, were also starting to gain upward momentum. Upon reflection, many would have considered that the current bear market would have “chewed up and digested the fresh meat” of the inexperienced participants who became involved in cryptocurrency during the later stages of the bull market. This may well be the case. Nevertheless, there remains to be a number of inexperienced participants that are being manipulated into making simple-minded decisions, with their greed being the primary trigger.
So why do we become inherently greedy more often than most realise? Well, let’s investigate from both a theoretical and case study perspective.
The great Physicist Stephen Hawking referred to pollution along with human greed and stupidity are still the biggest threats to humankind. “We certainly have not become less greedy or less stupid” (Hawking 2016). I am sure some of us can relate to this trial of thought. To delve further into the science and to review the creation of human greed from a physiological aspect, an American psychologist named Abraham Harold Maslow created a Hierarchy of Needs. This is a theory of psychological health predicated on fulfilling innate human needs in priority, culminating in self-actualisation. (Wikipedia)
Maslow’s theory did not deny that some people were greedier than others, moreover that people act in ways perceived as greedy for different reasons. Firstly, we shall exclude the extreme cases such as the completely self-obsessed megalomaniacs and narcissists, furthermore, we will also exclude wholly self-sacrificing martyrs, as in both cases these instances are few and far between. The main driver behind Maslow’s theory was most humankind will act greedy in response to our needs not being met. The Hierarchy of Human Needs categorises these needs, when the person feels these needs have been met, we basically move up onto the next level of the hierarchy.
People become “greedy” and act irrationally when they feel the needs are not being met. To capture this in a brief example, if a person does not have enough food to survive, they will go to any length to fulfil that need. Once met, we can move up a level to “Safety”. If the said person was then not feeling loved, they could behave outside typical parameters in order to gain that love. This movement of met needs cumulates at the tip of the hierarchy at self-actualisation, where those who are having their needs met have continued to learn, grow and becoming more motivated, based on good decision making.
Although this is only one theoretical approach, it offers a basic insight and a prescriptive guide on how greed can develop in people, though to generalise this for every circumstance would be wholly incorrect. For example, a violent mob edging in your direction would most likely render people to head in the opposite direction to keep yourself alive, despite your immediate physiological needs.
With reference to the above using the basic understanding on how greed can manifest in people, how this could apply in the world of cryptocurrency?
We will briefly review a recent case study to review this, and explore how greed can overtake rational thought.
Case Study — “The Raccoon”
We will now briefly review a recent incident on Twitter, where despite there being a number of clear warnings towards the actions of a scam artist, people were remained blinkered by the scammer’s provocative (yet clearly untrue) statements on increasing financial wealth. This ultimately lead the targets to send the scammer their money / crypto in order to gain a quick-fix method of increasing their own financial position.
We will investigate the obvious warning signs that were ignored by these people.
The case of “The Racoon” aims to determine if the person behind the Twitter handle @Cryptorandyy has misled followers, and through deceit (along with the greed of the targets) gained trust and received their cryptocurrency. “The Racoon” is further accused of effectively pulling an exit scam on the received cryptocurrency. He promised to effectively act as a “fund manager”, which is claimed did not happen.
There should have been raised suspicions to anyone with a fraction of rational thought, into the previous actions of “The Racoon”. The account had numerous Twitter handle changes in a very short period of time. Typically, this can indicate that the person controlling the account is trying to cover over previous activities.
It should be recognised that anyone claiming to have a 100% success rate on trades is clearly being far from legitimate. Successful and legitimate traders would not dream of speaking in this tone, as it simply not possible to achieve. In addition to this somewhat ludicrous claim, the follower count of the account would read up to 13,000 followers before drastically reducing down to 100 followers. The account was deleted and reactivated numerous times in a lame bid to avoid detection.
The account regularly posted photographs and images that were proven to be taken from another source, such as a search engine image or someone else’s social media account. These actions speak for themselves with regards to false legitimacy.
Furthermore, the account plagiarised other people’s material including charts and trade information in order to gain of the trust of unsuspecting targets. The account was found responsible by other cryptocurrency participants and was called on this on many occasions. The account reacted by either deleting tweets or by blocking people to cover any underhanded activates.
Finally, the most troubling aspect of this case, was that all of the previous clear-cut warnings were ignored, and money / cryptocurrency was sent over to “The Racoon”. Even with trying to review this case from a number of standpoints, I could only determine blind greed as to why anyone would ignore such obvious red flags. To then unthinkingly part with a substantial amount of money that is practically untraceable, is frankly beyond foolish.
It is beyond reasonable doubt that the person behind the Twitter handle Cryptorandyy is a scam artist. This person has no intention of assisting anyone with making any profits in cryptocurrency, and be sides this, would not have the relevant trading knowledge to offer such advice in the first place. The person is only intent on receiving your cryptocurrency before pulling an excuse and moving onto their next target.
It is also probable that more people who will act totally irrational and likely sent more money to this scammer, through possibly not feeling like their initial needs were being met. The past of cryptocurrency creating many wealthy people is likely to magnify this greed somewhat.
In built within the human mind, there will always be an element of greed. Some greed leads to destruction, whereas harnessed greed can bring improvement to one’s standard of living. While most people understand that greed entices danger more than safety, they still try to implement it as if they can control it, like the old proverb, “if we want to get big fish, we have to spend more small fish”.
So, should people greed or not?
In conclusion, greed has more disadvantages than advantages. Greed in people can be found more commonly in people with unmet needs rather than a self-fulfilled being. This can fuel danger, with the path becoming more destructive. With this thought, people should limit their greed and must assess the situation around them. Furthermore, they should have the basic capability to be able to search the proof for themselves. If not, the world of cryptocurrency is not a suitable world for them.
“It is possible to satisfy your need. It is impossible to satisfy your greed.” (Dr T.P Chia)
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